New RS 5 Coupe costs from £61,015

New RS 5 Coupe costs from £61,015

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The old RS 5 Coupé sounded so much better than its BMW M4 rival, so why has Audi dropped the sonorous 4.2-litre V8 and replaced it with a muted turbo V6 in the new model?

RS 5 - one, two or three body styles?

The second generation RS 5 is for the moment only offered as a coupé.

The second generation RS 5 is for the moment only offered as a coupé. The first time we saw it was at this year's Geneva show.

Some had thought that a convertible would be revealed at the IAA in September, but no, that didn't appear. Nor did the more recent LA auto show prove to be the launchpad. Perhaps Audi is holding out until Geneva 2018. Or later. The old RS 5 was on sale from April 2010. It took until the Paris motor show two and a half years later for the convertible to make its world debut.

We may also see an RS 5 Sportback but that could risk lessening the exclusivity of what would otherwise remain a rare model series.

Compared to the A5 and S5 Coupés, the front end gains larger air inlets within the black honeycomb grille and this is itself wider and flatter than in other two-doors. Either side of that grille are darkened headlight modules. Other unique touches are additional lateral air intakes and outlets plus wheelarches which are 15mm wider than in the A5 and S5. At the back end, there is a small decklid spoiler and two large, oval-shaped tailpipes.

The new two-door's engine is a 2.9 TFSI biturbo V6. This produces 331kW (450hp) and delivers 600Nm (442.5 lb-ft) of torque. Both turbochargers are positioned inside the V and each supplies one cylinder bank. That power output is the same as what was produced by the normally aspirated V8 in the previous model.

All-wheel drive is of course standard and that fact is loudly announced by quattro in a black font at the base of what Audi AG always refers to in its media releases as 'the Singleframe'. Which is a piece of silver plastic that encloses the grille.

Performance, and its cost

Few other coupes from a mass-premium brand are capable of this one's speed.

This car in your rear-view mirror would be pretty damn intimidating to many. Even driven (I promise) courteously on the M4 and M5, the overtaking lane soon cleared, which was nice, even if I felt a bit guilty and soon shifted leftwards. No point, really though, as few other coupés from a mass-premium brand are capable of this one's speed.

How fast is the RS 5? Blisteringly so. Zero-62 mph takes 3.9 seconds, and the top speed is limited to 155 mph (250 km/h). The test car had an option which costs GBP1,450. What might you expect that to be? Special wheels? Nope, it does have such things, but they cost.....two grand. Be extra extra careful when parking. Luckily, the tyres have a ridge so at least that safety net is there. The GBP1,450 charge is for the limiter to be deactivated, which means a claimed v-max of 174 mph (280km/h).

A collection of multiple accessories and options (fifty quid for a Smoker's Pack, which is a lidded plastic beaker that sits in a cup-holder, is another example) brought the on the road price of the GBP61,015 base car up to GBP78,345.

Do people who own these cars receive a hand written letter from the Chancellor thanking them for their GBP1,200 road tax fee? Yes, forget the supposed social stigma of purchasing a diesel car, what about the annual cost of one which has a CO2 average of 197g/km? That doesn't seem like an excessive number to me (the emissions average) but for anyone who is determined to lease a high performance vehicle powered solely by a combustion engine, get used to being treated like A Polluting Person Who Must Be Made To Pay.

With a light right foot, 30+mpg should be possible.

As for economy, use the car in the ways for which it was designed, and it's going to be MPG in the high teens. But drive around without DYNAMIC on, and instead choose COMFORT, and not only will you have a far more compliant ride but consumption can be as much as 39.8mpg (official, Extra Urban). Let's say 30 though, with Combined being 32.8mpg.

The standard eight-speed tiptronic transmission, which is a torque converter automatic, does tend to use all that torque to maximum advantage, selecting higher gears sooner than perhaps a driver with a manual gearbox would. Thus with a light right foot, 30+mpg should be possible.

Roadholding and handling

The RS 5 is brutally capable. Even having lost 60kg compared to the previous, shorter RS 5 Coupe, is not an especially light car. And yet its 1,655kg (excluding driver) seems to make no difference to how it behaves on the road. Corners? No problem. Traction is hilariously incredible. There is a self-locking central differential and torque is split asymmetrically between the axles in the ratio of 40:60. An additional rear axle differential is an option. If you really want to mind your weight, then a carbon fibre roof is available to order. This saves a claimed three kilograms.

What would it take to make this car leave the road sideways, or even not be able to hammer off the mark on a wet road? I certainly couldn't approach its limits, which shows how much effort went into the engineering and tuning of the dynamics.

Build

We don't yet know if there will be Convertible and Sportback bodies to come.

As with all other A5s and S5s, production is at Neckarsulm. The architecture is MLB Evo, which means longitudinally mounted engines and front-wheel drive and/or all-wheel drive. Expect the RS 5 Coupe to be built at this German plant for seven years, with a facelift in 2021. Volumes? That's hard to say, given that we don't yet know if there will be Convertible and Sportback bodies to come, but if it's just the Coupe, then annual build of around 1,000-1,500 sounds about right.

Summary

A week with an RS 5 Coupe just isn't enough, and that's from someone who does try to make sure he never takes for granted the grace and favour bestowed upon him from car company press offices. This car really stood out compared to even the other super-fast ones I've tried out in 2017.

The only fault would be that it doesn't make a noise anywhere near as good as the V10 in the R8. And if you ever had the chance to drive the old shape RS 5, then a normally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 with an 8,250rpm redline is something you might well long for. Hashtag rich person problems.

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